California Gas Prices May 2022

Will green energy policy help or hurt Democrats in the mid-term elections?

My favorite policy-oriented web site is the Daily Signal. I saw a couple of related posts about the Democrat party and their green energy plan. Right now, everyone knows that the Democrats flubbed handling rising inflation. They were taken by surprise. Will they also be surprised by the failure of their green energy policies?

Here’s the first article from Daily Signal, which provides helpful historical context for the second article:

America became energy-independent during the Trump years. This energy independence brought huge advantages. First, America’s fracking boom and the massive expansion of natural gas production that came with it lowered carbon emissions more than any regulation.

Second, American energy independence changed the national security dynamic with respect to huge energy-export countries in the Middle East and Russia. Finally, the lower energy prices that followed led to massive economic and manufacturing growth. Many dormant small towns in America literally came alive as a result.

Throwing all this away without an adequate and, importantly, cheaper alternative in place is almost unimaginable from a policy perspective, but that’s exactly what happened. By promoting so-called environmental, social, and governance investment standards to choke off fossil fuel investments, by canceling pipelines, and by limiting federal oil and gas leasing, the left has reduced American energy production and left America vulnerable to the rest of the world.

All this has come with very little emissions benefit to boot. It has just enabled Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others to displace American fossil fuel production with their own foreign fossil fuel production.

The result? From Biden’s inauguration to the onset of the war in Ukraine—before the much-discussed “Putin price spike,” in other words—American gas prices went up nearly 50%. Those prices are up another 15% on top of that since the war began.

The Biden administration was surprised because they didn’t know how rising energy prices and massive government spending would cause inflation. Since 2021, they said that inflation would be manageable, and no interest rate hikes were needed. Needless to say, if your chief economist is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, then you get surprised a lot.

Similarly with green energy, the Democrats are living in a fantasy land where switching to wind and solar (but not fracking and nuclear, which are just as clean) can be done with a wave of a Green New Deal magic wand.

Here’s what we can expect going forward, according to the Daily Signal:

Texans were advised last Monday and Wednesday to conserve energy as summer temperatures peaked.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid manager for most of Texas, issued a conservation appeal to Texans and Texas businesses as last week’s temperatures were expected to top 105 degrees.

[…][T]he primary reason for the call for conservation was “wind generation [that] is currently generating significantly less than what it historically generated in this time period.” On Wednesday, some forced traditional outages and lower solar output (due to West Texas cloud cover) also contributed.

[…][A]s temperatures and Texans’ need for electricity were soaring, wind turbines across the state were still; and last Monday, they were producing about only 8% of their installed capacity. Operating reserves—the backup generation needed to keep air conditioners blowing and factories working—were shrinking.

Something very similar happened last year during the unprecedented 2021 blackouts when 10 million Texans went without power and 12 million without water, many for several days, during freezing temperatures. Energy analyst Robert Bryce noted at the time, “Roughly 17% of [wind’s installed] capacity was available when the grid operator was shedding load to prevent the state’s grid from going dark.”

It should also be pointed out that solar’s contribution to the grid during those pre-dawn hours was zero.

Is this going to happen in your state this winter? It depends on how much power the secular left has to determine your state’s energy policy. Many voters have this view of America as a magical place, where global warming socialism will really work. But global warming socialism doesn’t work here, either. We know it’s not working in socialist Europe. It’s been tried in big, rich states like Texas and California, and it hasn’t worked. Blackouts are serious – people die from losing power during hot and cold times of the year. I hope people will turn off the TV and think about whether they want to live or die before they vote in November.

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